Thomsen-Friedenreich antigen expression in gastric carcinomas is associated with MUC1 mucin VNTR polymorphism

F. Santos-Silva, A. Fonseca, T. Caffrey, F. Carvalho, P. Mesquita, C. Reis, R. Almeida, L. David, M. A. Hollingsworth

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


Aberrant glycosylation of mucins is a common phenomenon associated with oncogenic transformation. We investigated the association between expression of the tumor-associated antigens T, Tn, and sialyl-Tn and polymorphism in the length of the MUC1 mucin tandem repeat in a series of gastric carcinomas. We further evaluated the relevance of MUC1 tandem repeat length on the expression of these tumor-associated carbohydrate antigens (TACAs) using a gastric carcinoma cell line model expressing recombinant MUC1 constructs carrying 0, 3, 9, and 42 repeats. Gastric carcinomas showed a high prevalence of Tn and sialyl-Tn antigens, whereas T antigen was less frequently expressed. The expression of T antigen was significantly higher in gastric carcinomas from patients homozygous for MUC1 large tandem repeat alleles. No significant associations were found for Tn and sialyl-Tn antigens. This novel association was reinforced by the gastric carcinoma cell line model experiments, where de novo expression of T antigen was detected in clones transfected with larger VNTR regions. Our results indicate that polymorphism in the MUC1 tandem repeat influences the expression of TACAs in gastric cancer cells and may therefore allow the identification of subgroups of patients that develop more aggressive tumors expressing T antigen.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)511-517
Number of pages7
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2005


  • Gastric carcinoma
  • MUC1
  • Mucins
  • Polymorphism
  • T antigen

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry

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